Articles, Blog

In Samoa, two BYU soccer stars help make the ultimate save

November 21, 2019

There’s so many kids in Samoa that are
struggling with rheumatic heart disease and don’t even know. Samoa has the highest
prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in the world. The purpose of this trip is to
find children who are suffering from rheumatic heart disease so they can get
the treatment that they need. Lizzy Braby and I, we’re on the soccer team, and we went down to Samoa with the
Rheumatic Relief team. The goal of the whole program is to diagnose, treat, educate, and help them become aware of rheumatic heart disease and how to get treatment. The primary cause for rheumatic heart
disease is strep throat . Strep throat is what leads rheumatic fever, and so when this rheumatic fever goes untreated, it starts to attack the tissues in the
heart, and so that can cause heart failure. In the screening process we look
for damage of the mitral valve. Just this year we screened over 6,000 kids. Almost every elementary school we went to, we did find kids with rheumatic heart
disease and that was definitely hard to see. But at the same time it’s also a
blessing because we’re able to get them help. My career aspiration is to become a
sonographer. This trip was especially eye-opening to me. I learned a ton from
the sonographers. The founders of Rheumatic Relief are former BYU athletes Marv and Lori Allen. Lori Allen is especially inspiring to me. She gave a speech the very last thing she said was to always be a part of something bigger
than yourself. Because of my experience, I want to go back, I want to help. BYU sports is so much more than just playing sports. The world is so much bigger and
we can make a bigger difference.

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